California Company Receiving Jihadist Threats

MONROVIA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California company that makes spy drones for the military is seeing increased security because of threats posted on an online jihadist forum, officials said Friday.

Police in the Los Angeles suburb of Monrovia were working with federal authorities and the company, AeroVironment Inc., to step up security at the sprawling corporate headquarters, City Manager Scott Ochoa said.

AeroVironment makes unmanned surveillance aircraft that have been used in Afghanistan and in the war on terror. The company also makes charging stations for electric cars.

“As first responders, we take first threats seriously and view this as a credible one,” he said. “They are a really high-profile member of our business community.”

While the FBI doesn’t comment on specific threats, it does notify groups and persons who may be listed as potential targets, said Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles. “They’re notified so they can take their own precautions,” Eimiller said.

Ochoa said the increased security at the company will continue “as long as the Homeland Security apparatus feels that this is a credible threat.”

A Homeland Security spokesman said the agency had reported that there was “an online posting by a user of an Arabic-language violent jihadist forum, which listed specific individuals and businesses that the user believed were legitimate targets.”

The department issued a report and also cited the threats in a June 9 joint note with the FBI that was sent to federal, state, local, tribal and “private sector partners,” DHS spokesman Chris Ortman said in a statement.

Ortman declined to provide details of the suggested targets and said the agency has “no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the United States or any U.S. persons.”

The company said in a statement to The Associated Press that “as a policy, we do not comment on security matters.”

The threats were first reported Thursday by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The Monrovia headquarters is the site of much of the green technology work while production of the military drones chiefly is done at another plant in Ventura County, Ochoa said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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